How much exercise do you need?
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 3:23 PM | 0 comments
For some, a 30 minute workout is perfect. For others, a longer gym session is necessary to reach fitness goals. So how do you know how much exercise you really need? Read on to find out how you can determine a personalized activity plan.
I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as one–size-fits-all when it comes to fitness. We’re all individuals with our own preferences, especially when it comes to getting fit. We each have our own unique body type (unless you’re an identical twin), and we each have different needs and goals. How much exercise you need depends on your overall goal. What may be a good workout plan for you may not be the best for someone else. Let me guide you to find a nutrition and fitness plan that works best for your own schedule and current fitness level.
There are several sources that recommend a weekly 150 minutes of exercise (about 30 minutes, five times a week) for weight-loss and general health. This is classified by moderate to vigorous physical activity. However, let’s say your goal is to run a marathon. In this case, you’ll need to train for a lot longer than 30 minutes at a time. If your goal is simply to lose weight or improve you overall fitness level, 30 minutes may be all you need.
Striving to achieve the minimum recommended amount of activity is important for everyone. When you think about it, 30 minutes is a relatively short time commitment and is, in my opinion, a very achievable goal. I believe that although a workout time of 30 minutes is adequate for achieving the health benefits associated with exercise, you should attempt to schedule a longer workout. Approximately 50-60 minutes per day will allow you to have an additional focus on yourself. This extra time could be for a warm up, cool down as well as time to write in an exercise journal or prepare a healthy post exercise snack.
Your activity plans shouldn’t be something that stresses you out. It’s counter productive to have to rush right after your exercise routine. I think it somehow spoils the good mood that performing activity can have on your body.
Don’t overdo it
When it comes to exercise, too much of a good thing can spoil it. Overdoing your workout can be just as harmful as not doing any at all. There are several reasons as to why doing too much exercise can set you back:
Weight Loss: Taking your fitness to the extreme may actually slow down your metabolism and that’s because your body tries to conserve precious energy, causing you to burn fewer calories. In addition, maxing out your intensity level without sufficient breaks may stimulate the release of cortisol, a stress hormone linked to weight gain.
Muscle Growth: Exercising promotes small tears in your muscle fiber, and as they heal, your muscles grow. Without a sufficient healing period and adequate nutrition, your muscles won’t regenerate properly.
Overall Health: Severe cases of over-exercising can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, serious injury and even rhabdomyolysis—a condition that occurs when muscle tissue breaks down and muscle fibers enter your bloodstream, potentially damaging your liver.
So how much exercise is too much? Restricting your hard workout regimens to 3-4 days a week and allowing a rest day or two is a great idea. You need to be conscious to combine an intense exercise regimen with great nutrition as well. Only you know your body the best, so my advice as always is to pay attention to how your body feels. Push yourself enough, but not to the point of exhaustion.
Exercise produces the best results when you’re consistent with your routine. I believe it should be simply part of an overall wellness strategy to improve your life.
I encourage you to get active, keep a journal to monitor your minutes, and at the very least, meet your healthy active minimum each week. If you’re an avid exerciser make sure you take time to recover.
Here is my personal workout-rest schedule to give you an idea of how I plan my week:
Monday: Running and gym, high intensity level
Tuesday: Cycling and yoga, moderate intensity level
Wednesday: Body weight Interval training, high intensity level
Thursday: Active rest day for fun walk or hiking, low intensity level
Friday: Cycling and running, moderate intensity level but long duration
Saturday: Active rest for family fun swimming, paddle boarding, low intensity level
I usually adjust my intensity level and workout duration to ensure my workout is stress free and fun.
I shared my fitness schedule for the week. Now it’s your turn. What does your week look like?
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife
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